What are you listening to now? : The Pit Edition
Messiah - "Hymn To Abramelin" (1986)
An ultra-raw Swiss thrash debut that sits somewhere between their countrymen Hellhammer/Celtic Frost & the early Teutonic thrash & speed metal outfits like Kreator & Living Death. Extremely aggressive vocals that often border on black metal. The album is really carried by a few highlight tracks as the tracklisting is pretty inconsistent overall.
Razor - "Malicious Intent" (1986)
An underrated thrashfest of a record that makes up for it's poor production (particularly the super-loud drums) with unbridled enthusiasm & energy. I actually prefer it to any of Razor's more celebrated earlier releases as it's thrashier style & more aggressive vocal delivery is better suited to my tastes. Sounds like "Haunting The Chapel" & "Hell Awaits" era Slayer & Dark Angel's "Darkness Descends" crossed with some dirty Venom & Motorhead style speed metal.
Cyclone - "Brutal Destruction" (1986)
Belgian thrash metal for fans of early Metallica, Slayer & Dark Angel. It's not bad actually but certainly doesn't offer anything you won't have heard many times before.
Sentinel Beast - "Depths Of Death" (1986)
The debut album from this female-fronted Sacramento thrash/speed metal outfit. They really lay on the velocity & kinda sound like Vio-lence meets Acid meets Iron Maiden. Great shredding guitar solos. I quite like it.
Sepultura/Overdose - "Bestial Devastation / Século X.X." split (1985)
The Brazilian thrash Gods' debut E.P. backed by a three-song effort from heavy/speed metal countrymen Overdose. The Sepultura material is a real guilty pleasure for me as its evil necro atmosphere make me quite nostalgic despite the primitive production & performances. In fact, there's enough brutality on offer for half of these tracks to qualify as genuine death metal which makes it one of the earliest releases from the subgenre. Kinda sounds like a combination of the more brutal US bands like Slayer & Possessed crossed with the early Teutonic thrash material from Sodom & Kreator. I find the more speed metal-oriented Overdose material to be fairly hard to stomach though which brings the whole release down. Their epic ten minute Mercyful Fate & Iron Maiden inspired heavy metal opener is much more to my taste.
I greatly prefer the 1990 re-release of "Bestial Devastation" (4/5) to this release as it not only omits the Overdose material but it also includes a re-recording of "Troops Of Doom" from Sepultura's debut full-length from the following year "Morbid Visions".
Sepultura - "Morbid Visions" (1986)
Insert commentary from above only with a touch more intensity, better (if still decidedly inferior) drumming, less competent tuning & substantially more bass in the (admittedly still very raw) mix. Very similar quality overall though. This album absolutely belts the early Sodom releases in my opinion which shouldn't be a surprise when you consider just how many of these riffs the Seps boys reused on their classic albums a few years later. Prime time Brazilian death/thrash metal.
Attitude Adjustment - "American Paranoia" (1986)
An enjoyable full-length debut from this San Francisco-based crossover thrashcore outfit. It's flat-out speed & energy from start to finish but can sound a little samey at times. Fans of DRI & Agnostic Front should find a lot to enjoy here though.
Ludichrist - "Immaculate Deception" (1986)
The debut album from a New York crossover thrash/hardcore band that would later go on to become Scatterbrain of "Don't Call Me Dude" fame. I've never been much of a fan of humour in my metal but the musicianship is good & there's plenty of variety. Sadly I don't find the song-writing to be engaging enough though. Fans of Cryptic Slaughter, Cro-Mags & Leeway may disagree with me.
Détente - "Recognize No Authority" (1986)
The debut album from this female-fronted LA thrash metal outfit. The vocal delivery can become a bit monotonous after a while. Dawn Crosby has a similarly overthetop style to former Exodus front man Paul Baloff so she probably won't appeal to everyone. The tracklisting isn't as consistent as I'd like but there's enough quality riffage on display here to keep me interested. Not to mention some excellent shredding guitar solos. Definitely worth a listen.
Agnostic Front - "Cause For Alarm"(1986)
A fine example of New York crossover thrash & hardcore punk. Twenty-four minutes may not seem like a suitable duration for a full-length album but when it's got this much energy it's best not to overdo it. Fans of Cro-Mags, Ludichrist & Leeway should be all over this.
The Accused - "The Return of... Martha Splatterhead" (1986)
The debut album from this Washington-based crossover thrash/hardcore outfit is well worth a listen. It features an extremely dirty production job that gives the music an additional layer of authenticity while vocalist Blaine Cook goes completely nuts behind the microphone. Stylistically, this is quite heavy on the hardcore side of the equation & the song-writing is generally pretty consistent so if you like one track you'll likely enjoy them all. Fans of Discharge, D.R.I. & early Corrosion Of Conformity should find something to interest them here.
Tankard - "Zombie Attack" (1986)
The debut album from this Teutonic thrash metal institution sees Tankard combining the chaotic electricity of early Voivod with the thrashing violence of Exodus & an injection of Motorhead's punk rock attitude. It works pretty well overall & I particularly enjoy the up-front drums & the gnarly vocal delivery. Good production for a debut too.
N.M.E. - "Unholy Death" (1986)
The only album from this Washington-based four-piece whose music careers came to grinding halt shortly afterwards when guitarist Kurt Struebing "killed his adoptive mother with a hatchet and scissors while on drugs. He claimed that he thought he was a robot. He wanted to open her up to see if she was a robot also." "Unholy Death" is amongst the rawest thing you'll ever hear. In fact, it sounds like a mixture of Venom, Hellhammer & Motorhead only with an enormous amount of feedback & a substantially poorer production. Mayhem guitarist Euronymous was a big fan & it's easy to see why given how inaccessible & underground this record is. I quite like it.
Vulcano - "Bloody Vengeance" (1986)
The debut studio album from Brazil's Vulcano was a big record for me back in my tape trading days. I used to pick up a lot of the ultra-raw & heavily underground South American extreme metal from a guy in Chile & generally found it to be right up my alley. "Bloody Vengeance" was a huge step up from Vulcano's lackluster "Live!" album from the previous year & sees the band combining a primitive yet ridiculously intense form of blackened thrash with genuine death metal. If you like early Sepultura, Bathory & Sarcofago then you'll be all over this.
Cryptic Slaughter - "Convicted" (1986)
The debut album from this influential Californian crossover thrashcore outfit. Just about the fastest thing that'd been recorded at the time & a clear influence on the grindcore movement that was about to take off. Should appeal to fans of early D.R.I., Attitude Adjustment & Wehrmacht.
Hallows Eve - "Death & Insanity" (1986)
The second & best studio album from these meat-&-potatoes, US power metal-infused thrashers from Atlanta, Georgia. "Death & Insanity" takes a noticeable step up in terms of song-writing & production from 1985's "Tales Of Terror" & subsequently caught my attention when its older brother didn't. The guitar solos are very nice & the catchiness of the hooks makes up for some unimaginative mid-paced thrash riffage. Worth checking out if you like Anthrax, Metal Church & Overkill.
Assassin - "The Upcoming Terror" (1986)
The fast & raw debut studio album from an underrated Teutonic thrash metal outfit that should appeal to fans of Kreator, Destruction & Dark Angel.
Deathrow - "Riders Of Doom" (1986)
The debut album from this second tier Teutonic thrash metal outfit. Typically fast, raw & unpolished. Fans of Kreator, Slayer & Dark Angel should find a fair bit to like about this despite some obvious plagiarism (Metallica & Slayer in particular) & messy musicianship & production.
Possessed - "Beyond The Gates" (1986)
The sophomore album from San Francisco's death metal originators takes a thrashier direction than the more obviously death metal oriented "Seven Churches" debut although there are still plenty of signs of the sound that was so influential on the early purveyers of death metal. In fact you can easily pick out some of the songs that Chuck Schuldiner used as the inspiration for Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" album. The song-writing is generally pretty good but the poor production does limit the records appeal pretty substantially. Some messy rhythm guitar performances don't help either but the brutal vocals of Jeff Becerra & the impressive lead guitar work of Larry Lalonde & Mike Torrao help to carry the album through to a reasonably rewarding result. Just not as rewarding as the debut. It sounds like a combination of Slayer, Venom & Death to my ears.